Jihad - Islamic Holy War PDF Print E-mail

islam1The relentless and often vicious persecution by Muslims against Christians is seldom recognised or understood.

Many assume that the concept of Jihad, or holy war, espoused by Muslim leaders like the Aytollah Khomeini was an aberration not truly representative of Islam:

“We shall export our revolution to the whole world. Until the cry ‘Allah Akbar’ resounds over the whole world. There will be struggle. There will be Jihad... Islam is the religion of militant individuals... Islam will be victorious in all the countries of the world, and Islam and the teachings of the Quran will prevail all over the world ... This is the duty that all Muslims must fulfill ...”

These were the often repeated public pronouncements of the Ayatollah Khomeini after the revolution in Iran in 1979 (Quoted from “The Blood of the Moon” by George Grant).

Nor was the Ayatollah alone in such militant threats. Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud declared:

“We shall never call for or accept a negotiated peace. We shall only accept war — Jihad — the holy war. We have resolved to drench the lands of Palestine and Arabia with the blood of the infidels or to accept martyrdom for the glory of Allah.”

The President of Sudan, Lt. Gen. Al Bashir often speaks of Jihad. At the 40th anniversary of Sudan’s independence, Al Bashir celebrated the spirit of Jihad which was engulfing the people of Sudan.

The head of Sudan’s ruling party, the National Islamic Front (NIF), Dr. Al Turabi, has often declared his goal of an Islamic empire controlling (initially) the horn of Africa (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda and Sudan). This he calls “the Grand Islamic Project”.

At a two-week conference of Muslim leaders from 80 countries, hosted by Muammar Gaddafi in Tripoli, Libya (October 1995), strategies to transform Africa into an Islamic continent were discussed. Participants openly admitted that their goals were to make Arabic the primary language of the continent and Islam the official religion. One SA member of parliament, Farouk Cassim, declared: “It will probably be the biggest revolution to sweep Africa.” Head of the Islamic Propagation Centre International (IPCI), Yousuf Deedat, announced afterwards that South Africa was high on the agenda of the Islamic offensive.

“We are going to turn South Africa into a Muslim state. We have the money to do it,” he said (Sunday Times 22/10/95). At present less than 2 percent of South Africans are Muslims.

What few Westerners understand, however, is that those Muslim leaders who call for the overthrow of all governments and the establishment of an Islamic superstate controlling all aspects of life for every person on earth are not extremists on the fringe of Islam. Actually, Jihad, the subjugation and forcible conversion of all people to Islam and world domination, are central tenants of Islam. Jihad is ranked by many Muslims as the sixth pillar of Islam.

Jihad was so important to Muhammad that he declared it to be the second most important deed in Islam.

“Allah‘s apostle was asked, ‘What is the best deed?’ He replied, ‘To believe in Allah and his apostle. ‘The questioner then asked, ‘What is the next (in goodness)?’ He replied, ‘To participate in Jihad (religious fighting) in Allah’s cause.” — The Hadith, Al Bukhari, Vol. 1 no 25.

Muslims, in fact, divide the world into two sectors: Dar-al-Islam (the House of Islam) and Dar-al-Harb (The House of War). The only countries considered to be at peace are those where Islamic law (the Sharia) is enforced.

Islam in Arabic means submission, surrender or subjugation. A Muslim is one who submits. The Arabic word for peace is Salam. Islam is the active form of Salam. Muslims see themselves as a “peace making force” using argument, intrigue, commerce, threats, terrorism, warfare and every other means possible to secure Islam as the only religion worldwide.

Muslims are not permitted to make peace with a non-Muslim country until its inhabitants surrender to Islam. They can agree to a cease-fire for a period of time — but never to peace with non-Muslims.

The Quran teaches that Muslims are superior to others: “Ye (Muslims) are the best of peoples evolved for mankind...” Surah 3:110.

Muslims are forbidden to befriend Jews or Christians: “O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors. They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is one of them...” Surah 5:54.

Islam instructs its adherents to fight until their opponents submit. Christians and Jews may be spared if they pay “Jizya” — a penalty tax - with willing submission: “Fight those who believe not in God nor the last day ... Nor acknowledge the religion of truth, (even if they are) of the people of the Book, until they pay Jizya (tribute taxes) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” Surah 9:29.

“Fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait (ambush) for them in every strategem (of war); but if they repent and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them.” Surah 9:5 (also 2:193).

For those who resist Islam — execution or mutilation is decreed:

“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution or crucifixion, or the cutting off of the hands and feet from opposite sides or exile from the land...” Surah 5:36.

The Hadith which is a record of the words and deeds of Muhammad, is also viewed by Muslims as inspired. Next to the Quran, it is the most important source of Islamic Law. It’s teachings are regarded as binding on all Muslims.

The Hadith teaches that apostasy is punishable by death: “Whoever changes his Islamic religion, kill him.” Vol. 9:57.

A Muslim may not be punished for killing a non-Muslim: “No Muslim should be killed for killing a kafir (infidel).” Vol 9:50

Those who die in holy war are guaranteed to go to Heaven. “The person who participates in Jihad (Holy battles) in Allah’s cause and nothing compels him to do so except belief in Allah and His apostle, will be recompensed by Allah either with a reward or booty (if he survives) or will be admitted to paradise (if he is killed).” Vol 1:35

islam7It may be hard for Christians to understand the concept of such a militant religion, but the primary aim of Islam is not spiritual but political. The ultimate purpose of Islam is the establishment by force of a worldwide Islamic state where Sharia law is enforced on all.

To achieve this is the goal of Jihad. Islamic scholars identify a multitude of forms that Jihad can take:

1. There is the Jihad of Words. Muhammad was a brilliant and gifted orator silencing his enemies in a war of words. In Arab culture it was customary for feuding tribes to select a poet to mock and provoke the opposing forces with spontaneous verses of cursing.

These linguistic warriors engaged in verbal combat sought to inspire their own side with a sense of superiority and strength whilst undermining the morale of the enemy. This war of words, in which Muslim leaders today such as Gaddaffi, Saddam Hussein and Yassar Arafat still engage, is actually a war of nerves.

2. There is the Jihad of Deception. When Muslims are few in number, they can follow the example of Muhammad’s 83 followers who fled from persecution in Mecca to Abyssinia (present day Ethiopia). There the Christian Negus (king) offered them refuge.

When the Meccans demanded their return as slaves, the Muslim exiles declared that Islam was merely a variation of Christianity. The Muslims selectively recited those passages of the Quran that agreed with the Bible, such as the virgin birth and miracles of Jesus and His ascension to Heaven and ultimate return. They remained silent on the unbridgeable differences (such as the denial of the Trinity and the atonement) between the Quran and the Bible.

As a result the Christian Abyssinians protected the Muslims from the Meccans. In this way, when it was most vulnerable, Islam grew and developed in a Christian environment. (If we only demonstrate our Christian love without proclaiming the truth of the Gospel we could be strengthening anti-Christian forces).

Muhammad also compromised with the Meccan merchants during a particularly intense time of persecution. Formerly, he had fearlessly condemned polytheism. Then, under pressure, he accepted the Meccan belief that Allah had a wife, Al-lat, and two daughters, Al Uzzo and Manat (Surah 53:20-23). Later Muhammad repudiated these so-called Satanic Verses and claimed that all previous prophets had been tempted by demonic influence.

3. There is the Jihad of the Sword. After fleeing to Medina (the Hijra) in AD622, Muhammad started to summon his followers to attack and plunder the caravans of Mecca. His followers initially resisted these calls until Muhammad presented a series of “revelations” commanding Jihad (holy war) and permitting looting (“Whoever has killed an enemy and has proof of that, will possess his spoils” — The Hadith, Vol. 4 no. 370).

Where the booty was not large enough, Muhammad held captives as hostages until their families paid a high ransom for their release. Hostage taking has been a 

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common practice in Islam to this day.

Those who participate in Jihad are granted a blanket absolution (Surah 8:17) and guaranteed to go straight to Paradise (Heaven) if killed.

4. There is the Jihad of Taxation and Financial Reward. Those who refuse to submit to Islam are forced to pay a special tax for non- Muslims (Jizya). Those who convert to Islam are offered financial rewards or scholarships.

5. There is the Jihad of Slavery. Those Muslims who engage in Jihad can not only seize property, extort ransoms and demand taxes, but also capture slaves. The only places in the world today where slavery is still practised are some Muslim countries.

In Sudan, the Islamic government uses slavery as an incentive to encourage Arab Northerners to attack the Christian Blacks in the South and as a weapon of terror to destabilize non-Muslims. According to the Sharia, Muslims are allowed to enslave, own and sell human beings.

6. There is the Jihad of the Sharia Law. Non-Muslims are degraded to a lower class status and are denied equal access to the law because their testimony is not valid against a Muslim. This even applies to murder (“No Muslim should be killed for killing an infidel”). The death penalty is applied to anyone who renounces Islam and converts to another religion.

When the wealthy Bedouins of Arabia professed faith in Allah to escape attack, Muhammad did not accept their confession. (“The desert Arabs say ‘We believe’. Say, ‘Ye have no faith; but ye (only) say ‘We have submitted.” Surah 49:14) Islam does not place much value on personal faith, but demands surrender to the political rule of the Sharia.

It is significant that the calendar of Islam does not begin with the birth of Muhammad, nor the onset of his supposed “revelation”, nor the assembling of the first Muslim community, nor the flight of Muslim refugees to Abyssinia. The 12 years of persecution in Mecca were not considered the start of their new religion. The Muslim calendar only begins when Islam became a political state in Medina.

7. There is the Jihad of Polygamy. The devastating defeat of the Muslim forces by the Meccans in the battle of Uhud (AD625) led to what could be considered one of Islam’s greatest victories. So many of his men were killed that Muhammad permitted his men to take up to 4 wives (Surah 4:3, 4).


With the advent of Western medicine, infant mortality has plummeted. The Muslim birthrate has skyrocketed. Muslims are increasing in number twice as fast as other religions. This is due to birth control and abortion in Western lands and polygamy in Muslim lands. Muslims are not increasing much by missionary outreaches, but by having many children. Polygamy has become one of Islam’s most effective weapons for Holy War, providing Islam with a disproportionate numerical advantage.

8. There is the Jihad of the Spirits. According to the Quran, Muslims are not only men and women but also spirits who fight for the spread of Islam (Surah 46:29-33 and 72:1-15). A Muslim is to fight on Muhammad’s behalf both during his lifetime and after his death (Hadith Vol. 1 chapter 43).

Clearly Islam is a religion of force which denies basic freedom. No Muslim even has the freedom to change or leave his religion. The huge block of over one billion Muslims, presents the greatest political and military threat to the Western world and the greatest missionary challenge to the Christian Church. Muslim states are the most islam8severe persecutors of Christians, and Muslim terrorist groups are the most vicious hijackers, kidnappers, bombers and assassins. Islam is a challenge that we cannot ignore.

How we choose to respond, in prayer, publications, proclamation, projects and persistent vigilance will determine much of the course of history in the 21st century.

The desert tribes will bow before Him and His enemies will lick the dust ... All kings will bow down to Him and all nations will serve Him.” Psalm 72:11

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